Monday, July 16, 2007

You've come along way Baby - maybe too far!

I wish my Grandmother could have lived long enough to see a Super Wal-Mart. Every time I visit one of the mega stories I am in awe of the fact that I can buy donuts and fertilizer at the same store. I can load it all in the same buggy and throw in a couple of pairs of step-ins (panties) if I feel like it. I can get a prescription filled and while I wait to hear my name called over the loud speaker, I can get my oil changed or buy a new set of tires. “You have come a long way baby” since you’re up bringing in Collinsville. We had a 5 & 10 Store, Graves which was a general store, a feed and seed store, a small grocery store, a bank and a movie theater. A big day out was when we went to the City. For the most part families were self sufficient. They grew their own vegetables, raised killed and cured their own meat. For things like flower, salt and sugar there was a “peddler” that came by every week or two. I told you I grew up in the country – we were so far back in the woods that they had to pipe in sun shine. We never missed going into town when the chickens were hatching in the incubator at the Feed Store. Now, you want to talk about a good time – kids with their noses pressed against a window to watch chicken break out of the shell. This was the highlight of our week, heck make that a month. No one on the mountain had a T.V. so we had to find our excitement where ever we could. We were the first ones on the mountain to get a T.V. – it was a big box and it took a long time for it to warm up. On any given Friday or Saturday night our living room was full of family and friends. I remember the women sat in the back of the living room and the men up closer to the T.V. I never recall them watching anything but wrestling. I was just glad to be a part of the party. My Grandmother would cover her face with her apron when the wrestling got brutal. She just knew the poor guy getting beat up was going to die. Remember – we were in Alabama and they took wrestling “real” serious.
We were also the first family on the mountain to get a telephone – I can still see my Mom picking up the receiver, waiting for the dial tone – then looking around and saying “I have no idea who to call”. It was not long until the phone was ringing. All our family and friends got their own phone. We were on what was called a “party line”. Don’t remember how many people were on a party line but each person had their own ring. Two shorts and a long, one long and 2 shorts everyone knew their ring and the rings of everyone else on the party line. SO – If there had been talk at church on Sunday about so and so – if you heard their ring you could pick up your receiver and listen in. Since there was not much other entertainment on a rainy day we would listen to everyone else’s calls. It was sad folks really sad. If only there had been a Super Wal-Mart back then.
We got all gushed up to go to town. No shorts and flip flops – we dressed for the occasion. I don’t remember my parents buying much when we went into town. Mostly they stood on the sidewalk and talked to their friends. I remember that I could not wait until I got to go in the grocery store – my Uncle worked there and he always had chewing gum in his pocket. How we managed to spent almost all day on that one small street still escapes me. I just know that we did and I knew everyone and they knew me. My Mom did not have to hold my hand or make sure she could see me every minute. I knew to behave, because the people in that small Village did raise the kids. If Ms. Oliver say you misbehaving she had your parents’ permission to snatch you ball headed, grab you by the nape of the neck and march you to your parents – where you would get the whooping of your life for embarrassing your family.
You know while I was in the Wal-Mart I did not see a single person I knew, no one spoke to me and kids were running amuck. On second thought I am glad my Grandmother did not live to see a Super Wal-Mart. She would have taken to her bed for days just seeing the way folks were dressed!

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